Monday, December 29, 2014

Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas: Rejoice!

“Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all you lands.
Sing to the Lord; bless his name.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!” Ps. 96:1-2,11

My nephew John is two and a half years old and has begun to speak much more since the last time I saw him. He is adept at commanding his older brother James to “Share!”, expressing his displeasure over the church outfit his mother picked out for him, and voicing his opinion about the food put before him. However, what he is best at communicating is his delight in others while playing. Sometimes, he gets so caught up in play and the enjoyment of those around him that his squeals becomes a song of rejoicing.

Perhaps we do not squeal anymore. Perhaps the adult version of squealing is belly-laughing. How often do we allow ourselves to rejoice unselfconsciously? It seems as we grow older, we may become more filtered and more collected in our expressions of joy. We may sometimes even feel silly, undeserving, or even worse, guilty about being so raw with our happiness. Maybe we do not have trouble with delighting in the present, but rather we do not perceive anything to delight over. The burdens of our personal struggles or the seemingly unending litany of global issues weighs down on us preventing any opportunity to rejoice.

Christmas is a time of joy not only because we give and receive gifts or spend time with our loved ones, but most importantly, we celebrate the mystery of God’s romance with humanity and his greater desire to become even more intimate with us. Pope Francis writes in the opening of his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accepts his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.”

Indeed with so great a gift as Jesus, how can we keep ourselves from singing to the Lord a new song and blessing his holy name?

Lord Jesus Christ, open my eyes to see how wonderful a gift you are. May my response to your gift of love inspire those around me to rejoice.

Reflected by Michael Jamnongjit

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